Why Is A Dram (of Whisky) Called A Dram? – Scotch Whisky Conundrum

We asked; does anyone know, why is a dram called a dram? It brought in some very good replies, but the questions still stands, why is a dram (whisky) called a dram?

Donald Maclellan; I know a dram to be 1/13 of a pint which is 43ml which sounds about right. I learnt this from a Scot Gaelic speaker who had a dram measure from pre-1900 passed down through his family so he was very confident of this measure. Paul wrote; thanks Don, I do like this idea!

Bill wrote: “Encyclopedia Britannica. dram; unit of weight in the apothecaries’ and avoirdupois systems. An apothecaries’ dram contains 3 scruples (3.888 grams) of 20 grains each and is equal to one-eighth apothecaries’ ounce of 480 grains. The avoirdupois dram contains 27.344 grains (1.772 grams) and is equal to one-sixteenth avoirdupois ounce of 437 12 grains. The term also refers to the fluid dram, a measure of capacity equal to one-eighth fluid ounce. Love the idea that a dram contains three scruples. After a couple of drams, my scruples seem to vanish!” Paul wrote; Bill take care of those scruples man!

Scottish word which comes from Scottish Gaelic – the literal meaning of ‘dram’ in English is simply ‘drink’, so it doesn’t really have to be just whisky/spirits though it’s normally used for these things.

Inga Thompson (Canada) It’s the Scottish Gaelic word for drink and so isn’t just for whisky according to the urban legend dictionary!

And … what is “a wee dram “? Och I need one just to calm me heid!

Hi Paul, I saw this on my phone … Interesting question, and one I will have to check when I am next in the National Library. A dram was a measure of gold and gunpowder, I think. In relation to whisky, it is no particular measure, although ‘a wee dram’ or a ‘nip’ refers to a standard measure – called a ‘half’ in the west. A ‘glass’ of whisky is a double, and some would say that a ‘dram’ is also a large measure. Best, Charlie (Maclean)

AYE ALL GOOD ‘N FINE, BUT WHO/WHEN WAS DRAM FIRST USED IN CONNECTION TO WHISKY bar/pub, restaurant, distillery, distillery worker?

Is there a correct glass to use for a “dram”? or can you use any glass – not a pint glass obviously.

Glasgow man 1: ‘Gies a dram’ (Please give me a drink, good sir)
Glasgow man 2: ‘Gies a dram or I’ll f**kin’ chib yer heid’ (I would very much appreciate a drink as soon as is convenient for you)

And now for something completely different; In 1970, the newly formed Intelcompany publicly released the 1103, the first DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory) chip (1K bit PMOS dynamic RAM ICs), and by 1972 it was the best selling semiconductor memory chip in the world, defeating magnetic core type memory. The first commercially available computer using the 1103 was the HP 9800 series.

So, whisky educationalists (is that a word?) out there, can you help?

Another “wondering aloud” question from Angel Paul. Angels Whisky Club is free, and open to everyone to join, comment on, be a part of! www.angelswhiskyclub.com  based in Scotland. Members worldwide paul@angelswhiskyclub.com

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